Angel Sharks – Paradise Divers Tenerife

As we are well into Angel Shark season here in Tenerife I thought I would write about them… They are interesting, weird looking Shark and sadly they are an endangered species… in some locations even extinct  now.. More on this later.. On this Blog I will talk about angel shark diet, habitat, reproduction, species, and physical appearance.

1.5m Angel Shark at 22m

Angel sharks belong to the family of Squatinidae. These sharks have stretched-out bodies along with the wide pectoral fins that largely resembles with the rays. There are around 16 species that fall under the genus Squatina in the same family. The angel sharks inhabit all throughout the tropical and temperate waters of the world. One of these species is known to exist in deep waters at a depth of about 1,200m.

The angel sharks are not considered to be dangerous to humans but one should not approach them as they have a powerful bite force and pointed teeth. Angel sharks are typically termed as ‘Bottom-dwellers.

At a depth of 10m the Angel shark tries to hide under the sand

These are angel shark species

* Sawback Angelshark
* Clouded Angelshark
* Eastern Angelshark
* Angelshark
* Ornate Angelshark
* Ocellated Angelshark
* Hidden Angelshark
* Sand devil
* Australian Angelshark
* Chilean Angelshark
* Japanese Angelshark
* Taiwan Angelsharkindonesian Angelshark
* Smoothback Angelshark
* Western Angelshark
* Argentine Angelshark
* Pacific Angelshark
* Gulf Angelshark
* Mexican Angelsha

General Information:
* The rear part of angel sharks resembles more like typical sharks.
* They have their eyes and spiracles right on top with five gills located below.
* The length of angel sharks measure around 1.5 meters.
* These shark species are very fond of eating crustaceans, mollusks, and fish.
* The angel sharks are ovoviviparous and they give birth to 13 – 20 pups.
* These fish are harmless but the respect should be given as they can pose danger if provoked.
* Back in 1980, the angel sharks provide an important food source especially for fisheries.
* The largest Angel Shark in our waters measures around 152 cm with the maximum age lived of 30 years.
* The males become mature at 8 years, with the length measuring at 75 – 80 cm.
* The females reach the maturity age after 13 years, with the length of 90 – 100 cm.
* There are white markings on the angel shark’s body coupled with the reddish-brown color. They display different colors that ranges from bright brown to the light grey. This much variation in the colors enables these species to be camouflaged themselves.
* They have sharp teeth with the upper jaw embedded with lots of teeth and the lower jaw with even more teeth.

What do angel sharks eat?

They tend to camouflage themselves in sand patches, rocky areas or patch reefs during daytime. Some of the most common angel sharks preys include squids, small fish, octopus, and crustaceans. These species are sit-and-wait predators. These fish often prey on mollusks, croakers, hake, halibut, peppered shark, corbina, blacksmith, flatfish, and other kinds of bony fishes. They seldom take on invertebrates other than those mentioned above.

Where do angel sharks live?

The angel sharks have an extensive distribution around the globe with species inhabiting across the tropical waters to the cold northern waters, and are often found in deep waters. Most of these species are active during night; they are considered to be bottom-dwellers and are known to prey on species that are hidden under the sand with the help of their trap-like jaws. These species are best known to primarily feed on small bottom fishes.

Reproduction

according to the available data the mating of these species begins in summer season. The young sharks tend to develop inside the female mothers. The gestation period lasts for about 10 months and the usual births take place in the months of June and March. The females litter 13– 20 pups. These pups are 25 cm long at birth.

Let’s save our Angel Sharks!

Dan

Paradise Divers Tenerife – Divemaster Internship Blog – Zach

Hello! It’s Zach! All the way from Canada, please… send more Canadians, we need more normal people at the dive shop.  🙂

Anyways, my time at the dive shop has been wicked. I’ve learned so much from Dan and Carly. Everything from logistics to operations, it’s been a very busy few months. They’ve given me the opportunity to work by myself, and with the support of 2 other Divemasters (Darri and Fabio; Both from Iceland). Besides Dan buying us more donuts, I couldn’t ask for more.

Diving in Tenerife has been amazing, currently have over 60 dives. Within these dives, I’ve successfully completed my Rescue diver and Enriched Air. Also, the marine life! Wow! The water is filled with so many things.  I’ve had the opportunity to see so much, and when you come here; you’ll understand. With only a few more weeks remaining in my Divemaster internship, we are just finishing up skills and starting the testing. With that being said, I’ve gotta study and practice my skills!  Until next time!

Zach

Paradise Divers Tenerife – Divemaster Intern Blog – Darri

A long time ago (2 months) I landed on an island far, far away. These two months have been probably the best time of my life. The first two weeks were more about settling in on the job, learning the operations of the dive center, as in paperwork, how to deal with customers, book customers for dives etc. Including also, what my actual role here is all about, how to act on our boat and how to beahave in the water with customers.

The settling in on the island was easy, the weather makes you feel like you’re constantly on holiday and people are in general very nice. Dan and Carly also made it incredibly easy to settle in at the dive center, they are so nice understanding people that even after my first two weeks on the job, I felt like I’ve worked at the dive center much longer and known them even longer.

About the marine life, which is waaay different from what I’ve seen in the cold waters of Iceland, it is just amazing here. Here there are so many different colorful and interesting species, crabs, turtles, octopus, barracuda, cuttlefish and especially the sting rays and adorable angel sharks. Just thinking about the marine life gets me excited for every dive.

As time went by, we completed our EFR and rescue diver qualifications and the focus could be put on the divemaster element. The instructors at Paradise Divers, really are world class, they make the learning a lot easier and so much more enjoyable than I could have imagined, they don’t just teach you what you need to learn but they also enjoy so much watching you learn that you can see it in them. I’m really looking forward to my last month here as there are a lot of things still to get done.

Paradise Dives Tenerife – Divemaster Intern Blog Fabio

Floating with ease.. neutrally buoyant.. thoose have been the last 2 months of my Divemaster internship here at Paradise Divers DIve Center.
I am called Fabio and i have been one of the three interns here last two months here at Paradise Divers and only one month to go until i´m quilified Divemaster.
Dan and Carly the instructors here are really patient, kind, funny and straight up professionals. When i came here i had no expirence and took my open water and advanced open water courses with Dan and Carly and since then i have become better than  i could ever imagine, they have tought me so much and i am planning to come back in end of this year to do my instructor course with them because i wouldn´t want to do it anywhere else.
In this time i have been here i have seen so many awesome creatures as Atlantic rays, Angel sharks, Dan, Golden spotted snake eel, lot of diffirent types of octopus and couple of wrecks wich have been very much fun to see and i can´t wait to explore more in the near future.
Being here have brought me to the level that i can call myself a Padi Pro and that is all Dan and Carly to thank for.
Me and the other interns we might be hard to handle at times but that is just because we are just way too awesome as a trio 😉 Being here has made us all a very close group and good friend, Dan, Carly, me and the other two interns Darri and Zach.
But unil next time, keep diving and remember the first rule in diving.. don´t poke the Angel shark.. he doesn´t like that hehe

Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship Blog – Cameron’s First Week!

Hola a todos!
My name is Cameron and I am Paradise Divers next victim… I mean…. Divemaster Intern!DSCF4206 I have been in Tenerife just over a week now and it has been an amazing experience. Dan and Carly have been very welcoming and have made my transition to island diving life very easy. It has been a very steep learning curve the first week on the job, from learning the ins and outs of the dive shop, to knowing my way around the boat, and the various dive sites on offer in Tenerife.

The marine life is abundant and very diver friendly here. My first dive at El Puertito I got to meet with some of the local turtles including Jose and Julio who gave me a friendly welcome to the island. I came to Tenerife with only 4 dives under my belt and have almost reached the 20 dive mark already. By the end of summer I will have well over 100 dives and a wealth of diving knowledge to share with others. I have already completed my Advanced Open Water course and will be completing my Emergency First Response and Rescue Diver course by weeks end.

I am looking forward to a fun and challenging summer completing my Divemaster course. You will be hearing a lot more from me in the coming weeks, so stay tuned!

Hasta el proximo tiempo ,

Cam J

Paradise Divers – Marine Life – Cuttlefish

I think Cuttlefish are among one of the most unusual  species found in our ocean.  We luckily see them at most of our dives sites here in Tenerife, its always interesting to watch them change colour and pattern so rapidly depending on their mood and to become camouflaged to match their background.   I have not yet witnessed them when they feel threatened, but they are known to release ink to try and confuse their predator.

They belong to the same family as squid and Octupus, in turn

Cuttle Fish Alcala August 12th 2014they  are among the most intelligent invertebrates and have one of the largest brain-to-body size ratios of all invertebrates.

They have a unique internal shell, known as the cuttlebone, which is gas filled and the cuttlefish use this to assist with their buoyancy control. Today, cuttlebones are commonly used as calcium-rich dietary supplements for caged birds, chinchillas, hermit crabs, reptiles and snails. 

Cuttlefish eat small molluscs, crabs, shrimp, fish, octopodes, worms, and other cuttlefish.  They use their camouflage to hunt and sneak up on their prey. They swim at the bottom, where shrimp and crabs are found and shoot out a jet of water to uncover the prey buried in the sand. Then when the prey tries to get away, the cuttlefish open their arms and shoot out two long feeding tentacles to grab them. On the end of each, a pad covered in suckers grabs and pulls prey toward its beak, where it gets paralyzed by venom and then eaten.

Cuttlefish are also known to rapidly change their colors to achieve an effect of hypnosis to stun their prey before catching and consumption.

Their predators include dolphins, sharks, fish, seals, seabirds, and other cuttlefish. The average life expectancy of a cuttlefish is about one to two years.

Male cuttlefish challenge one another for dominance and the best den during mating season. During this challenge, no direct contact is usually made. The animals threaten each other until one of them backs down and swims away. Eventually, the larger male cuttlefish mate with the females by grabbing them with their tentacles, turning the female so that the two animals are face-to-face, then using a specialized tentacle to insert sperm sacs into an opening near the female’s mouth. The male then guards the female until she lays the eggs a few hours later.

The most successful  methods to acquire a mate is camouflage; smaller cuttlefish will use their camouflage abilities to disguise themselves as a female cuttlefish. Changing their body color, concealing their extra arms (males have four pairs, females only have three), and even pretending to be holding an egg sack, disguised males are able to swim past the larger guard male and mate with the female.

As I mentioned, they are very intelligent!

By Carly Pickford.

Paradise Divers – Marine Life – Moray eel

The moray eel is a large species of eel found in warm and temperate waters all around the world. Despite their snake-like appearance, moray eels are in fact fish and not reptiles.

Moray eels are found in both deep and shallow waters in tropical and sub-tropical regions at depths of less than 50m.  At our dive sites here in Tenerife, you will commonly see three different types, the brown, the black and the fang tooth moray.

They vary in size, but grow averagely up to 100cm in length.  The fang tooth moray can be distinguished from the other morays by its bright yellow and black markings. It’s elongated jaw and large number of sharp glass like teeth, give it a more aggressive appearance. 

They don’t see very well but they make up for it with their very excellent sense of smell. They tend to do their hunting at night and rely on smell to help them get their prey. Some types of fish will follow them to be able to avoid predators themselves.

The moray eel is a relatively secretive animal, spending much of its time hiding in holes and crevices amongst the rocks on the ocean floor. By spending the majority of their time hiding, moray eels are able to remain out of sight from predators and are also able to ambush any unsuspecting prey that passes.

Like many other large fish, the moray eel is a carnivorous animal surviving on a diet that consists of only meat. Fish,  including squid, octopuses, cuttlefish and crustaceans such as crabs are the main source of food for the moray eel.

The moray eel is often one of the most dominant predators within its environment but moray eels are hunted by some other animals including other large fish like grouper, barracuda and sharks.  Moray’s normally grab their prey using an element of surprise, then they wrap their body around it until it becomes flat enough to swallow.  Alternatively they take a bite at a time, tearing their prey apart.  They have two sets of teeth, one located in the jaw and the other in the throat to facilitate digestion.  They keep their mouths open constantly in order to assist with breathing and provide constant circulation of water towards the gills. 

Moray eels tend to mate when the water is warmest towards the end of the summer.  Moray eel’s fertilisation process occurs outside of the womb, in the surrounding water. More than 10,000 eggs can be released at a time, which develop into larvae and become part of the plankton. It can take up to year for the moray eel larvae to have grown big enough to swim down to the ocean floor to join the community below.

 

At many of our interesting sites in Tenerife, you will find cleaner shrimp providing a cleaning service to the moray eel. They remove parasites from their bodies, mouth and in between their teeth, providing a good source of nutrition to the shrimp.

I find Moray eels fascinating to watch, they may appear frightening to look at but they are not aggressive and would only react in self defense if we make them feel threatened…. or you wave your fingers near them and they mistake them as food!

By Carly Pickford

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Paml mar Cave (3)

Paradise Divers – Marine Life – Burrfish

These beautiful, rare fish are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Ocean. We have two boat dive sites which we visit regularly in Tenerife, where we have resident Burrfish.  It’s always enjoyable seeing the delight on our diver’s faces, when they have the opportunity to see a burrfish during their guided dive!

burr fish

They are found singly hiding in protected shaded areas in caves and under rocks. They feed nocturnally on hard shelled invertebrates, including sea urchins where they use their powerful jaws to crush the food… often the spines from the sea urchins get stuck in their lips.

This fish is solitary, except during mating periods, it has a nocturnal activity with a maximal activity at sunset and sunrise.

The average length is 33cm and they are found at depths of 20-100m

In case of danger, the Burrfish can inflate itself by swallowing water to deter the potential predator with its larger volume and it can raise its spines.

We would like to stress the importance of not catching or playing with the Burrfish because it is hard work for them to swell up and the consequent wear and tear on the muscles can harm the fish if it is forced to do this too often.

There seems to be a lot of confusion between the puffer fish and the porcupine fish. The main difference is that the porcupine fish are covered with sharp spines, which are visible even prior to ‘puffing up’, however the puffer fish have thinner spines that are only visible when ‘puffed up’

I always look forward to seeing our resident Burrfish, they are inquisitive and personable and a joy to watch!

By Carly Pickford

 

 

 

Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship Blog – Carrie’s 10th Week!

It’s now on my 10th week and time is near the end.  I have a handful of skills and such to complete as well as a few of my specialty courses as well.  These last few weeks will be crunch time.  Mapping project of Punta Maravilla is done.  I didn’t think drawing a map was even possible or within my skill set, but it turned out to be not so bad after all.

I’m rounding out 90 dives now and should have surpassed 100 by the end, which was a goal of mine when coming here.  Another thing that I am able to check off of on my list.  I also played an unresponsive diver this week and that was an eye opening experience.  I was no longer in the driver’s seat that I had been in during my rescue course; I was the victim.  It was a great experience to know and see how someone else reacts in the same situation.  You aren’t “alive” to give them pointers or help them in getting off your gear.

In the past 2 weeks I have noticed significant changes in the ocean.  The high winds and rough seas have passed and with it the low visibility.  The last couple dives have been calm and visibility has been spectacular to say the least.  In doing the wreck, El Condesito, I felt like I could see so many more parts of the ship and could see the ship from a ways back and it was much easier in my mind to reconstruct what the ship looked like previously.  El Puertito has never looked so alive since much of the sand has settled out of the water.  The amount of fish seems to have tripled there simply because you are able to see more clearly.  The clear water also helped me spot an electric ray at Punta Maravilla as well.  They have an amazing camouflage and I think I may not have spotted them had the visibility not improved.

As for me personally, I have traded my days off during the week for the month of March to go spend a few days with friends in Munich.  I am really looking forward to going as a few of my friends meeting me there I have not seen in 2 years.  It will be a great chance to not only see what Bavaria has to offer, but catch up as well.  This also means going back to the cold weather.  I am pretty far removed from the lower temperatures at this point and presume it will come as a big shock.  I have been very spoiled here on the island with fantastic weather all the time.  This is truly an ideal place to live and dive all year round.

I am looking forward to finishing up this next couple weeks and be the Divemaster I came here to be.  I’ll be excited to attend the next dry dive for my Grand Rapids Scuba Club and report on my time here.  I know many have seen the pictures I have posted online, but I haven’t had much chance to catch up with anyone to tell them of my progress and my divealicious adventures.

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Paradise Divers – Diving in Tenerife – Divemaster Internship Blog – Carrie’s 8th Week!

Time is flying here. I’m on week 8 of this trip and I can’t believe it.  I have a lot to report in this blog so hold onto your hats; it is going to get windy.

I have begun the mapping project of Punta Maravilla with Carly.  I have completed the necessary slides for the dive briefing, we just need to collaborate and put together a comprehensive underwater map of the area. I have done the site only 2 times so right now formulating a sketch seems impossible.  I know that with more time and maybe bringing a slate with me to sketch underwater will be a big help.

Emergency action plan for El Condesito has also been completed and I have successfully put together a template for an emergency that may arise at this particular site. The plan is comprehensive and contains information on the coordinates, a list of actions to take, dialogue information for calling EMS as well as emergency phone numbers and a map to the nearest hospital.

I have now done a few dive briefings and am comfortable in doing them as well as leading dives.  I have a few sites I am comfortable with and would be able to lead in the event I am needed.  I enjoy being in the lead, every time I make it back to the anchor it’s like a little pat on the back… you made it Carrie.

I finished watching the PADI Divemaster video and have read the Divemaster manual and completed all the knowledge reviews.  A bit of study and I am ready for the exam!  I have a now put effort into the water skills such as a timed 800 meter snorkel and a 100 meter tired diver tow.  I also need to prepare for the underwater assessment of the basic open water competencies.  There are 24 to be exact.

On the more personal side, I went and enjoyed Carnaval this last weekend in Santa Cruz.  It was not a Rio de Janeiro size celebration, but it was a great time nonetheless.  The amount of effort that everyone puts into their costumes was incredible.  Everyone was there to enjoy themselves and it was apparent by the amount of empty alcohol bottles, smiles and people dancing in the streets until the wee hours of the morning.  I highly recommend that everyone goes at least once in their life to see the effort put into the festival.  I also went rappelling down a valley here.  Now that was intense.  It looks much easier than it actually is.  I was holding on for dear life over a 100 foot drop and caves the size of a two-story house.  I finally got the hang of it on about the 3rd drop of 5.  It was a wonderful sense of accomplishment to look up from the bottom and see just how far down I had gone.

Next week my intentions are to finish up a few more specialty courses and plug along with the water skills. I had better get off the toilet now…. Dan is probably wondering where I am.  I’ll catch back up with you in 2 weeks time.

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